“It’s a shambles” – Michael Conlan believes ‘most of the top guys in boxing are doping’

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Considering he had no issue calling out the ‘f**king cheats’ in the amateur game, it’s no surprise to hear Michael Conlan being vocal in his beliefs the pro game isn’t entirely clean.

The Belfast fighter hasn’t suggested the same kind of systematic corruption that robbed him of his Olympic gold dream exists in the pro ranks, rather the ever straight-talking featherweight has claimed the upper echelons of professional boxing is full with drug cheats.

In fact, the world title hopeful believes that the majority of those fighting at the top level of the paid ranks are doping.

The Top Rank fighter suggested as much on social media post upon learning WBC super bantamweight champion Rey Vargas and madatory contender for the flyweight WBC title Julio Cesar Martinez tested positive for trace elements of Clenbuterol during tests conducted by VADA – and that the WBC were not going to take action.

When speaking to Off The Ball’s OTB AM show the Olympic bronze and World Championship gold medal winner expanded further, portraying a belief that the sport is drug fueled at the highest level.

“In my opinion,” the 27-year-old explained, “I believe most of the top guys in boxing are doping,” he adds before suggesting his has never experienced any doping incidents first hand.

“I’ve never come across someone I know [to be doping], and I’ve never been offered anything myself, I have no way of proving that but you see these guys getting caught here and there.”

Conlan claims he isn’t overly upset with either boxer and instead directed his ire the way of the governing bodies.

In recent times the likes of Canelo Alvarez – for similar reasons to the Vargas and Martinez – was banned, but just for six months as was Jarrell Miller, who was found to have substantial traces of illegal substances in his system. Conlan argues punishments have to be more severe.

“My gripe isn’t with [Vargas and Martinez]. It is with the top tier of boxing.”

“There need to be sterner bans. People are failing but there’s no punishment for it.”

Conlan claims the situation is a ‘shambles’ and extremely dangerous in a sport were people can get seriously hurt.

Maxim Dadashev, Hugo Alfredo Santillan, Boris Stanchov and Patrick Day have all died as a result of injuries sustained in the ring this year – and the fighter, who takes on Vladimir Nikitin in New York on December 14 claims that has motivated him to speak out.

“The reason I have started to speak up about it more is that in a year with boxing we’ve had four deaths,” he notes

“Why are we letting things like this continue?”

“Why doesn’t every single person who’s in the top-20 of any governing body have 365-doping? We should have 365-days-a-year random testing.”

“It’s not like the sport isn’t in a position where there isn’t enough money to have this running through it. Boxing is in the best place it has been for a long, long time. Why can’t we have money put into anti-doping? It’s a bit of a shambles, it’s very annoying.”


Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com